Food: Well, it appears you really thought about this

Can’t say it’s all good thinking though. I don’t really feel like hashing out the problems with some of Joel Salatin’s logic in this space. But, if you do happen to go to the below link and watch the hour long talk with local food legend and compost revolutionary, Joel Salatin, feel free to engage in a discussion and I’ll bring my problems to the front.

Otherwise, please, give it a listen, there’s plenty of good information here mixed in with some very dumb logic.

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Hint: The guy thinks everyone should abandon cities and the internet and TVs. No joke.


Disney Pivots on Junk Food

I’m interested if this might make a big enough splash to pivot most kid-oriented programming to start having standards of what kind of food they will allow advertisers to sell to their viewers.

Science Sunday

There’s a lot going on this week. Besides the above history-making event, there’s also this fantastic episode of Science Friday that deals with two aspects of humans relationship with food.

Human Omnivorism, the universality of crunchy goodness and our ancestral food habits – Here.

Why Tomatoes taste like nothing and how you can get better tasting tomatoes – Here.

And if you want to see why you ought to just not buy tomatoes in supermarkets at all, and learn to love tomatoes at the same time, you could read this book – Tomatoland.

And here’s the Fresh Air interview with Barry Estabrook, author of Tomatoland, if you want a summary view.

Nanny State or Necessary

The best argument to deflate (probably) conservative cries of “Nanny State!” about regulating unhealthy food comes from the success of the campaign against smoking. By far the most successful policy changes for curtailing smoking have been restricting advertising, removing access to youths, banning smoking in public places and taxing tobacco.

At a certain point, as a country, we will recognize the similarities between the obesity epidemic and smoking. So far, the grotesque little diabetic imps that flop around next to you on the plane or in public places haven’t been enough to derive a unified opinion on taxing unhealthy food or subsidizing healthy stuff. Currently, our nation’s food subsidies are for corn, which ends up making corn sugar cheap and in everything, and meat.

This Fresh Air interview about the HBO Documentary “Weight of a Nation” discusses the obesity epidemic, and these issues of regulation, in much better detail. Still, I wonder what it will take because I find myself able to don my conservative hat and remain unconvinced.


Science Sunday – Pesticides and Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

Many of you have heard over the years a few stories about the disappearance of bees. Some of you may have even heard that this has the potential to end life as we know. While the latter is something of an over-hyped exaggeration, bee colonies certainly are fundamental to the agriculture industry. For example, the commercial almond business would not exist without healthy bees. Diseases or disorders that wipe out bee colonies would completely eliminate the ability of the average American to eat almonds, ever. There are plenty of other crops where this extrapolation also applies.

[David] Hackenberg, 63, in case you don’t remember, is the politically wired commercial beekeeper who winters in Trilby and who was the first in his industry to report the now-chronic malady, colony collapse disorder, in late 2006.

…on Thursday, the journal Science published two new, more damning studies about the pesticides’ potential danger.

Hackenberg and Science both have identified a group of pesticides believed to be mainly responsible for colony collapse disorder. No surprise, this particular pesticide is used primarily on corn crops.


Bringing Food and Knowledge to New Orleans

What Wendell Pierce is doing in one of America’s greatest cities seems kind of off-beat. The interview is prefaced by how odd it is to see a celebrity opening a chain of grocery stores in the city. He isn’t selling clothes, watches, perfume. He’s selling culture and health back to the city he loves. And that’s damned admirable.

Vigeland: What does it mean in a community when you don’t have affordable places to shop for food?

Pierce: First of all, it means that people are going to buy what they can get their hands on, and it’s going to be processed, fast, quick, unhealthy choices.


Capitalize, Bold, Underline: Eating Red Meat Increases Cancer Risk 40%

He found that people who consumed about one serving of red meat (beef, pork or lamb) per day had a 13 percent increased risk of mortality, compared with those who were eating very little meat. And processed meats raised the risk higher, to about a 20 percent increased risk of death from diseases including cancer and heart disease.

…[two servings of red meat daily] is associated with approximately 40 percent increased risk of colorectal cancer and, as this study shows, about a 30 percent increased risk of death.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for some evidence against that claim, we can turn to the meat industry:

“I don’t think there are a lot of risks associated with those processes [used to produce hot dogs or bacon],” says Betsy Booren, director of scientific affairs for the American Meat Institute Foundation.

“They’re made from meat, which is needed in the body.”

Source with Source (transcript)

Dr. Pepper 10: Now More Cynical

For example.



There’s two links in the High Fructose Corn Syrup listing, find them all!

Also, instead of leaving an elephant in the room to flop around with a too-small caliber bullet lodged in it’s skull, I’ll just say I have no additional comment on the gender/sexual content of the ad beyond what the ad itself offers up.

I gotta say, though. For a second, I joyfully Googled the product to see if maybe they figured an unsweetened product would be just fine, or maybe they’d used pectin or whatever’s in my nonfat yogurt for its lower caloric yield and not gross sweetness factor. Then, Lo! was I reminded how far I am from the sclerotic pulse of my nation.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

I hate vegans, don’t get me wrong, but I think they might have something on this whole not eating turkey business. In any event, I plan on trying the pumpkin soup recipe. Give it a look. Maybe you’ll see something cool?


Do You Vote For This?

Give this a listen. It’s from the Freakonomics blog and podcast, of Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics book fame.

Just ask yourself honestly. I’m not asking for some ethical revolution in your own life or total abstinence. I’m just asking in this one instance, do you vote for this? Is this something you support? Really, no one needs to respond verbally. We will know by what you put in your mouth next Thursday. *Bonus points if you bring it up with your thanksgiving co-participants.

 the question is this: of all the commercially raised turkeys in the U.S., what percentage are the product of artificial insemination?

The answer, oddly enough, is 100 percent. Why? Well, it’s a supply-and-demand story. Because Americans particularly love to eat turkey breast meat (a great delivery platform for gravy!), turkeys have been selectively bred over the years to have bigger and bigger breasts. So big, in fact, that when it comes time for a male turkey to naturally reproduce with a female, his massive breast prevents him from getting close enough to complete the act.

I am not going to start foaming at the mouth and start advocating husbandry nihilism. But let me add two things more: it also poses disastrous ecological and biological problems. These turkeys are pumped full of antibiotics because having thousands of birds in one barn, all with Frankenstein genetics,*  poses severe risks to the health of the birds. But all these antibiotics make it in to their meat (no duh, right?) and when we eat it, we’re essentially normalizing our own immune system to these antibiotics, thus making all antibiotics less effective overall. This raises the potential for super bugs to grow (the fabled antibiotic resistant strep, e.g.).

Secondly, all their shit, their feces, has to go somewhere. It isn’t fit for manure and it does not have any nutrients we can use in soil. More often, all that shit ends up in pools more or less destined for our water supply or the irrigation of our crops. I don’t think I need to say more when the news does a pretty decent job of sounding the alarm for E. Coli outbreaks and other food borne illnesses from unwashed and uncooked vegetables. (But for some reason the news doesn’t really ask how a bacteria that lives in the intestines of animals ends up on vegetables – I’ll help you out, poop. There’s poop on everything, including inside that freakish cavern in your thanksgiving turkey that you just pulled a big helping of stuffing out of).

Having Turkey for thanksgiving?

* The genetics of these monstrous birds would cause them to die on their own if they weren’t slaughtered at the human equivalent age of adolescence.

Some ancillary facts and supporting information comes from Eating Animals – which you should read even if you’re not disturbed by the morality of factory farming practices.

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